Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare on Saturday broke the African women’s 100m record twice at the ongoing Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in London.
The rangy Nigerian sprinter coasted home in an impressive 10.86 seconds winning time in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m event to erase compatriot Glory Alozie’s 10.90secs set in 1999.
But Okagbare was not done yet as she put up another heroic performance in the final to break the African record she had set earlier in the heats to win in a time of 10.7secs ahead of second–placed Barbara Pierre of the United States – who clocked a joint personal best time of 10.85sec- and Trinidad’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste (third in 10.93secs).
After running a world leading 10.7 secs in the semi-finals, defending world champion and reigning Olympic 100m gold medalist, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, never recovered from a poor start in the final, finishing fourth in 10.94secs.
Okagbare has been in fantastic form recently, with the London feat her second Diamond League victory.
The 24-year-old Nigerian jumped 7.04m to win the women’s long jump event at the IAAF Diamond League Grand Prix event in Monaco and record her season’s personal best in the event.
She also won the women’s long jump at the IAAF Diamond League Grand Prix in Lausanne in a remarkable 6.98m.
In the sprints, Okagbare defeated rivals Fraser-Pryce and Carmelita Jeter to win the 200m at the Birmingham Grand Prix.
The USA-based athlete is being tipped to end Nigeria’s 13-year medal drought at the World Athletics Championships, scheduled for Russia in August. And she hopes to be in top form ahead of the showpiece.
“I just wanted to put up a good race and I’m so excited. For me, I just want to do my best and I’ve been working hard and have tried to stay on top of my recovery. I’m hoping when it comes to Moscow that I’ll be ready,” the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games long jump bronze medalist told the BBC.